On Air Now
Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 4pm - 7pm
20 August 2020, 20:24 | Updated: 20 August 2020, 20:31
Just a whole load of chiseled men in tights, leaping very high for our entertainment.
Ukrainian-born dancer Sergei Polunin is a huge ballet star of the moment, combining impeccable technique, gravity-defying leaps, with a bit of body ink to boot. This high altitude, dizzying sequence comes from Le Corsaire from composer Adolphe Adam and choreographer Joseph Mazilier, and it’s a feast.
Nureyev is an abiding ballet icon. His energy, physicality, a willingness of spirit to push the limits, made took from the Kirov Theatre to win over the western world in one of the great artistic stories of the 20th century. Oh and look, he could jump really high.
Check out this fantastic introduction to his talent and some awe-inspiring on-stage virtuosity at 1:58.
Russian-American dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov is another incredible product of the Kirov Ballet. He came to the West in 1974, settling in New York City as principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and then New York City Ballet. His is one of the most distinguished careers on stage and sometimes screen (yes, like us you probably recognise him from those Sex and the City cameos).
Baryshnikov was renowned for his leaps and feats of strength on stage, but always with elegance and polish. Check out his attention-seeking entrance in Don Quixote. Just incredible.
Vasiliev was born in Moscow in 1940, the son of a truck driver, but was to become one of the Soviet Union’s biggest stars ballet stars. He was ultra-famous for his powerful leaps and turns in the role of Spartacus. It’s something to behold.
Cuban-born ballet dancer Carlos Acosta graced our stages for two glorious decades, and a more electrifying and charismatic dancer you could not find. Jolly good at the jumpy stuff too. Acosta was a permanent member of The Royal Ballet from 1998 to 2015 (where this excerpt is from) and is now director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
In the early 20th century, Vaslav Nijinsky was your man on the ballet stage. With not too many iPhones around in his day, we can only imagine what he was like in full flow. Though this 1917 snap gives us a clue.
Russian dancer Ivan Vasiliev knows how to put our hearts in our mouths with spectacular arial displays. He’s danced for the Bolshoi and is currently principal at Mikhailovsky Theatre St Petersburg. And look at him go!
Australian dancer Steven McRae is a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. He’s a true star of today, an arty Instagrammer, and a fantastically virtuosic Prince Florimund in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty.